South Africans are, by necessity, incredibly resilient and eternal optimists. Notwithstanding high unemployment, rising food and fuel prices, corruption, and decaying infrastructure, not to mention Covid, we wake up each and every day ready to tackle whatever the world throws at us. It reminds me of Monty Python and the Holy Grail when Arthur meets the Black Knight who refuses him right of passage over a bridge. The two then engage in a fight with Arthur chopping off his left arm, followed by his right arm and still, the Black Knight refuses him passage, claiming it is but a flesh wound! The fight continues and the Black Knight proceeds to try and kick Arthur before having his legs lopped off. Still, the Black Knight refuses Arthur passage calling it a draw. With no arms and no legs, the fight ends with Arthur moving away while the Black Knight shouts out “Come back here and take what’s coming to you. I’ll bite your legs off!”
2020 and 2021 were, to say the least, challenging, and in particular for the Hospitality and Tourism Industries. Quarantine restrictions, Red Lists, a lack of international flights, the July riots, and ongoing fear and uncertainty meant that Thanda Safari was, like many other lodges, very much reliant on South African guests. To each and everyone that visited Thanda Safari, a special Thank You! Fortunately, the wildlife were completely oblivious to the world’s troubles, and Thanda Safari had very good rains which meant that the dams and rivers did not dry out during the course of the year and game bred very well. This was evidenced by the number of young calves and the high number of warthogs on the property. Guests were treated to some unbelievable game sightings, with regular sightings of lion, elephant, rhino, and buffalo, although leopard remained elusive which made seeing them that much more special! Our cheetah has done really well, with our Mom having successfully raised 3 cubs who are now almost 20 months old. Currently, there are also some lion cubs so the future is looking bright!
Our staff continued to wow guests and the Thanda Starlite Production Events, which included events such as Wine Weekends with Abingdon and Bird Ringing Weekends with James Rawdon, proved to be very popular and will continue into 2022. We were fortunate to have very limited staff turn-over, and in fact, 49% of staff have been with Thanda Safari for in excess of 5 years, with a cumulative 951 years of service which is simply incredible!
Despite the difficulties of the past two years, there is a lot for us to be grateful for. Every cloud has a silver lining, and where better to see this for yourself, together with the sun rising over the Lebombo Mountains and an easterly breeze ruffling the fur of a lounging lion than at Thanda Safari. We look forward to welcoming you!
Love from Thanda Safari